Monday, September 25, 2006

Confessions (not about my apparent inability to post regularly)

Madonna. 48 years old, but still one of THE hottest women on the planet. And all it takes is presence, attitude and a body that's been whittled and beaten into muscular perfection. Oh, and Guy Ritchie. And the ability to command a riding crop. A monogrammed riding crop no less - we would expect no less from the Material Girl.

The Confessions Tour is apparently the most profitable tour of any artist, ever. The Japanese shows in Tokyo and Osaka sold out in 5 minutes. 5 minutes!

2 hours of an audio-visual spectactular, quite unlike anything I've ever seen before. I've been to an awful lot of concerts and performances, but nothing quite came to the level of grandiosity, and budget too, I guess, of The Confessions Tour. Most of the songs were from the new album, Confessions From The Dance Floor, and while musically, none of Madonna's new stuff is even remotely pushing any boundaries, it certainly sounds amazing when pumped through speaker stacks three stories high. The mix was good, and she's not so over-produced so that you want to jam your fingers in your ears, she actually performs very very well. I will admit that I was surprised that she could sing as well as she does. I always thought that Madonna would be more visually based, but musically she stands in her own right too.

Which is not to say that visually, the show wasn't entertaining. It was impressive and combined with the music and the fact that I WAS ACTUALLY SEEING MADONNA LIVE, I had constant waves of goosebumps and mini fits as I tried to come to terms with someone who's music I've been listening to since I was about 10 (is it embarrassing that I just admitted that?). The costumes were ever-so-stylish, the dancers had amazing bodies and did amazing things with a scaffolding-type frame. Admittedly I was a little disappointed that she relied so heavily on the video presentation as opposed to just being an outrageous spectacle. There were three video intermissions where basically a video of a song was played while the back-up dancers provided live movement.

My only other criticism is the apparent need for almost all celebrities these days to push their political and social standing in a public arena. The much-criticised cruxifixition was almost a non-entity - it was intended as a powerful image against the video streaming of children living in poverty-stricken countries and the fact that 12 million children will be without parents. Combine this with the usual 'fuck Bush, Blair and Saddam' mentality, and a woman who is known for being intensely individualistic, merely becomes yet another media-whoring star who is jumping on the socially vocal bandwagon. Now before I'm accused of being completely insensitive, I'm all for activism, provided that it's done effectively and not like in Madonna's case, which seemed to be purely for appearances. I object to being made to feel guilty for my apparent wealth and freedom and privelege, as it's not something that I take for granted. As the cheapest ticket to Madonna was 140,000 yen (roughly $A150), and tour shirts were around 7000 yen, I'm not about to listen closely to someone preaching about excess. And isn't Madonna someone that we all associate with excess?

I would have loved to have seen Madonna ten years ago, probably during the Music tour, just after Erotica came out, before she was a mother, before she married Guy Ritchie, before she decided she'd try and appease British sensibilities, and I'm almost inclined to say, before she got old. Back when she didn't give a fuck, when she courted contreversy and loved to be hated, when she was edgy and dramatic and volatile. When sex sold, and Madonna wasn't just a business, but a convincing, influential artist as well.

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